Our Festival

Ramzan Fasting Festival : A Fresh Perspective

June 26, 2017

Can you imagine working for twelve continuous hours without having even a drop of water and not just a day or two but continuously for one month? Well, we are not talking about any new diet that is catching up but the age old festival of Ramzan followed by Muslims all over the world. Do only men keep this fast? No, not really. Not just men even women and children take part in it.

So, when a person is fasting for twelve continuous hours without even a drop of water what is their state of mind? Do they have enough energy left in them? How do they feel? To check this out we visited a government school in Hsr

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which is adopted by an NGO Aasha Infinite Foundation and had a chance meet with founder CV Meera Raman and bunch of energetic kids who showed no signs of fatigue or weakness despite keeping Roza  and were full of energy and jumping up and down.

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Founder Meera Raman says “ Kids who turn up during festival are full of energy and enthusiasm. May be this is the spirit of the festival that keeps them going.”

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Children were excited that our team is interested in talking to them and finding out how they celebrate the festival and even more excited to face the cameras and spoke their heart out.

Check out what kids have to say about Ramzan:-

We were surprised and also applaud the spirit with which these kids are keeping Roza and eagerly waiting for Eid to open their fast.

But soon after we pondered over another question.

What do festivals offer to us about religion, food and bonding?

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Well, let’s see what Counselor Usha Madan has to say about it. What is the significance of fasting during festivals? As, it is quite common to all the religions.

She said that “My understanding is that may be it was introduced to make experience the difficulties of “Hunger” which a deprived person has to go through. It hopes to make people empathetic towards the sufferings of the less privileged “. She feels that festivals are great time for bonding . “More than bonding with the family it is the time for bonding within the community where in after becoming sensitive to others sufferings or lacking we are expected to bond with all the people without class or status division. People get together, open their fast & feast together over wide range of festive food thereby promoting harmony and love for each other.” she quoted

Yes, we were enlightened. But, another question popped up.

What is the impact of a fast on one’s body? What would be the survival tips to do this fast with ease?

We hunted down a dietician who answered our query Ms. Pradnyan Sonawane, a Mumbai based registered

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dietician/nutritionist with experience of 7 years in this field says “When a person is breaking fast they should have lot of fresh fruits,dry fruits,vegetables,  & cheese. Compared to adults, Children can be more hungry and they need more calories. So as a dietitian my advice would be to eat high caloric food items for sahar to meet whole day’s calorie requirements and moderate calorie diet for iftar because after sunset BMR(basal metabolism rate) goes down and food can be digested efficiently and more water can be consumed after meals.”

Wow, we were also gripped with festive fever. Hola! But how could we forget our favourite uncle at this time for advice. We always look to him for advice for anything. Yes, you guessed it right! Uncle Google. We went to see what he has to say.

Muslims believe the Quran was revealed during the ninth month of the holy calendar, Ramadan.Their teaching says that the Prophet Mohammed received revelations from God during this time, which made up their holy guide. In light of this, Muslims will read as much of the Koran as they can during the holy month.

Ramadan is considered a time for intense prayer and religious devotion, with Muslims encouraged to observe five daily prayers throughout the day.

Many will recite the Quran just before sunset and the start of their feasting. Often people will donate money to charity during Ramadan and help to feed the hungry.

Some other key facts

  • Ramzan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and the month in which the Quran was  revealed.
  •   Ramzan is considered a time for intense prayer and religious devotion, with Muslims encouraged to observe five daily prayers throughout the day.
  •  Fasting during Ramazan is one of the five pillars — or duties — of Islam, along with the testimony of faith, prayer, charitable giving, and making pilgrimage to Mecca.
  •  During Ramzan, Muslims abstain from eating any food, drinking any liquids, smoking cigarettes etc. from dawn to sunset.
  • It is also highly recommended to give Zakat (obligatory tax/donation – 2.5% of wealth/savings/assets) and Sadaqah (voluntary charity) in the Ramzan.
  •  Iftar:  The meal taken to break the fast at sun-down during Ramzan.
  •  Suhoor: The traditionally light meal taken late night or early hours before starting the fast, from dawn.
  •  Eid-ul-Fitar celebrates the end of Ramzan and marks the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal.
  • The most important sweet of  Eid is the meethi sevaiyan, which is made in different and flavorsome ways. Muslims welcome this day with something sweet, which is why it is also called Meethi Eid.
  • The day usually begins with early morning prayers and then family visits and feasts. Muslims greet each other by saying ‘Eid Mubarak’

At Ayyan Fireworks, we truly believe that celebrating every festival is like celebrating life. We get drenched in unique flavor of every festival in our own unique style to spread happiness and joy. We wish everyone happy and healthy Ramzan and joyous Eid from the bottom of our heart.

#LiveTheTradition

Team Ayyan

 

 

Our Festival

Celebrate Tamil New Year With Pride

April 11, 2017

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The vibrant state of Tamil Nadu boasts of extraordinary cultural legacy and has been drawing attention from every corner of the planet. Tamilian’s have one of the most ancient and richest traditions in the world – with the perfect blend of modernity in thoughts.

There are many things that make one fall for Tamilian culture, and take pride in its divine ethnicity. The Tamilian way of life is not just confined to age-old traditions or religious beliefs; but tamilians have their fair share of contribution in every sphere.

This April14th on Tamil New Year get to know about 10 powerful facts about why you should be proud to be a true tamilian. Take a peep into the tamil’s rich heritage and culture with these eye opening facts. So ,here you go –

1.Pioneered Secular Ethics

Authored by Valluvar, also known as Thiruvalluvar, Thirukkural is a classic Tamil sangam literature that consists of 1330 couplets –dealing with the daily virtues of an individual. It is the oldest works of literature known to man, penned around 2000 years ago. One of the first of its kinds, this literary work talked of ethics and morality years ago – especially Secular Ethics, a concept that found its existence in the modern world after ages.

2. Unique charm of Kanchipuram Sarees and the Veshti

Tamilians take great pride in their traditional attire, which has its own charm and uniqueness. Saris are an all-time hit among women, especially the Kanchipuram saris which have a great demand in other states and countries as well. For the Tamilian men, the traditional Veshti has entered board rooms and colleges with the youth of TamilNadu embracing it with gusto. And when at the comfort of home, one can find a Tamilian man flaunting the classic Lungi.

3. Revered trinity of Carnatic music were Tamilians

Carnatic music is one of the two main subgenres of Indian classical music, with the other being Hindustani music. The former is commonly associated with all the Southern states primarily, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, and Karnataka. But of all, Tamilian contribution to Carnatic music is of supreme by giving it the three pillars in the form of Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar, and Syama Sastri.

4. World known music maestros are Tamilians

Music maestros who have represented Indian music on world platform also happen to be Tamilians – from A R Rahman to Ilaiyaraaja, who have left a mark of their music on every heart. Having composed more than 6000 songs in different languages, Ilaiyaraaja has been bestowed with several international awards. On the other hand, A R Rahman as a music composer and singer has not just made Tamilians proud with his vast contribution in globalizing Indian music but has even brought honor to the country by winning the prestigious Oscar, and other notable international accolades.

5. King of search engines – Google CEO is also a Tamilian

Tamilians have time and again proved their expertise in the field of information technology. And there’s no denial to the fact that for Tamilians, education and intelligence quotient hold high importance. This is the reason; Tamilians have made their presence felt in almost every sector of economy – be it Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo Indra Nooyi or the CEO of world’s most popular search engine, Google – Sundar Pichai.

6. The coolest Bro Tag – Macha(n)

Tamilians defined the feeling of brotherhood in the most innovate and coolest way with Macha(n) – the bro tag which has now become common among all Indian as well as cross-border friends.

7. Tamilians swear by Jallikattu

Renowned as an ancient ‘sport’, Jallikattu is believed to have been practiced some 2500 years ago. Tamilians swear by this bull taming sport and is celebrated with great fun every year around Pongal, the harvest festival. It is such a rage among Tamilians, that Jallikattu is known as a cultural sport worldwide.

8. Tamilians believe in women empowerment

While the whole world talks high of women empowerment, the state of Tamil Nadu believes in the concept strongly and provides equal opportunities for growth to women. In fact, Tamil Nadu has a very large percentage of women working in the police force, 12.5% which makes it the second state in India to have a high percentage of women in the police.

9. Kabaddi – Tamilian’s gift to the sports world

One of the most popular South-Asian games, Kabaddi found its origin in Tamil Nadu and is loved by all. The sport which is gradually making its place in the world graph, the word Kabaddi is derived from Tamil word ‘Kai-Pid’ which means ‘hold hands’.

10. India’s two great Presidents were Tamilians

Tamilians have contributed greatly in Indian politics too; the state in the ancient times has seen many rulers and kings. It has given mighty political leaders including the likes of K. Kamaraj, M.G. Ramachandran, J. Jayalalithaa and two of the most admired presidents of India in the form of R.Venkatraman (1987) and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (2002).

#FUN FACT

Do you know Sivaski in Tamil Nadu is currently the hub of the Indian firecracker industry? It is home to Rs 1000 crs firecracker industry in India. Ayyan Fireworks is proud to be part of such rich cultural heritage and tradition.

Tamilian at heart?Leave a comment below on what makes you proud.

Our Festival

UGADI – The New Beginning

March 30, 2017


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We bid adieu to all the fun, frolic, colours and masti of the Holi and moves towards the new beginning accepting all the flavours life is made of. This journey towards new threshold begins with Ugadi as we step into the spring.

Importance

Ugadi  is derived from the Sanskrit word “Yuga” which means era, and “adi” which means new beginning. Hence Ugadi stands for a fresh start at life and embrace life in a positive way. It is also believed that Lord Brahma began creating the world on this day

Ugadi marks the beginning of Lunar New Calendar. This festival celebrates the nature regeneration. All trees begin to sprout tender leaves. The markets are flooded with different types of fruits. And most importantly Neem trees begin to blossom.

Celebration

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Houses are thoroughly cleaned and washed. People clean their homes; decorate them with lights and rangolis.
On Ugadi day, people wake up before the break of dawn and take a head bath. The bath is supposedly to be taken after massaging the entire body using sesame oil.
The idols of gods and goddesses within the house are then bathed in oil too, after which prayers and offerings of neem flowers, mango and tamarind are given up. The elderly women in the family then apply oil and vermilion to the forehead of the younger members following which all members of the family watch their reflection in a vessel of molten ghee.
The significant tradition of this festival is to decorate house doors and pooja mandir with fresh and green mango leaves.

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The green mango leaves tied to the doorway signify a good crop and general well being.

Cuisine

Ugadi teaches us to accept all the flavours in our life with the “Ugadi Pacchadi”

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which consist of raw mango, tamarind, jaggery, neem and also has salt and chilli.
These six ingredients represent six emotions of life. They are sadness, happiness, anger, surprise, bitterness and fear. It is the main item prepared during the festival and it denotes that life has all these emotions and it should be accepted together.

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Ugadi Pachadi is also known as Bevu Bella. Apart from Bevu Bella, several other dishes are also prepared to celebrate the festival.
In Andhra Pradesh, eatables such as pulihora, bobbatlu and preparations made with raw mango go well with the occasion. In Karnataka too, similar preparations are made but called puliogure and holige.

Clothes

As its Ugadi, New Year, people buy new clothes for themselves and their family members to soak in the spirit of Ugadi.
Traditionally, the men dress in a white or off-white linen shirt paired with a cotton lungi that is embellished with gold zari. While visiting the temple, men also don the Angavastram, which is a rectangular cloth of a similar colour and embellishment.
Women usually wear Kanchivaram sarees in rich colors with thick gold zari borders. They accessorize by adorning their hair with jasmine flowers. There is no scarcity of gold jewellery among South-Indian women. They wear heavy gold jewels on this day as it is considered auspicious.

Ugadi Panchanga Sravanam

People are keen to know what’s in store for them in New Year. So they flock the temple to listen to the future predictions. Usually the priest or an expert in astrology gives full details of how the year will be for people of each zodiac sign, and also

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predictions related to politics marriages, jobs, promotions, natural calamities, wars, rains, crops, etc.

Ugadi is celebrated every year with a lot of fervor and enthusiasm. Ugadi is observed as the beginning of a new calendar in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Some people participate in social community gatherings and enjoy a tranquil evening with devotional songs & hymns .Poetry recitals (kavi sammelan) are organized as a part of this festival.

In 2017, Ugadi is being celebrated on March 29. People of Maharashtra also celebrate the same day as Gaudi Padwa.

Festivals of India

HOLI : INDIA’S RAINBOW FESTIVAL

March 10, 2017

A welcome party for spring that begin on last full moon of the lunar month Phalguna, typically falling in February or March.

Yes ,its Holi. The vibrant colourful festival that ushers whole of India into the feeling of celebration as spring sets it. Enjoy by smearing each other’s face with colourful gulal, by having water balloon fights and by dancing together. The spirit of Holi is such that it binds people of all ages and religion together.

India is battling it out on 13th March this year 2017. So, all of you get ready for the crazy celebrations

What? Celebrating Holi for 1st Time? Don’t Know what to do? This is serious. Hardly any time left. Don’t Worry!  Complete Master Plan is ready for you. (Of course, it is like a war out there.)

So,here are some Cool Fun Tips to play this Colourful Battle like Pro.

  1. Weapons – Buy few Pichkari, gulal(colour), water ballons and colour sprays.  weapons

  2. Build your Colour Army – Make Holi Group on Whatsapp whatsapp.Tweet your friends.Call out Facebook friends to Meet Face to Face.(Kyunki Har Ek Friend Zarori Hota Hai).

  3. Battleground – Invite in Community Play Area Streets Houses (Ah! Catch them anywhere You can)

  4. Uniform – Be prepared to become canvas of colours .Wear White to become perfect master piece. (Statutory Warning – Surf excel and Arial won’t Help).

  5. Target  – Friends, Relatives, Strangers.

  6. Slogan Bura Na Mano Holi Hai ! (Please don’t mind, its holi time) This helps you escape from every situation).

  7. Energy BoosterBHANG is the official Holi drink. Lip smacking thandai, pakoras and vadas, all having bhang as a very essential ingredient is must to escalate the holi fever.energy-booster

  8. Background Music – Load top Bollywood holi songs in bluetooth to pep up the environment.(Call Amitabh Bachchan Deepika, Akshay,  to join the fun). bg-music

  9. Food – Have stalls ready with lip smacking snacks, sweets and drinks.(Gulab jamun, gujiya, lassi, samosa, kheer, kababs…Yummy )  food

  10. History – Effigy of devil minded sister of demon king Hiranayakashyp is placed in wood and burnt .Holi was also called Holika in ancient times and to this day Holika Dahan is celebrated before playing Rangon wali holi. (Yes, Your IQ got better).

  11. EvidenceClick Crazy Selfies. Post on FB. Get Likes (Make them jealous who shy away and also find some Bakra to capture the lively moments if you are too busy getting drenched)

  12. Mission – To have good fun and drench everyone in flavour of happiness , fun ,frolic and masti.

Are you the eco-friendly types?
There are many organic colours and you can make some home grown colourful mix too. Learn some DIY tips

Method of making

Colour

Mix Red Sandalwood Powder with flour (1:1)Make powder of dry red hibiscus flowers and add flour to it (1:1)

Red /Magenta

Mix one tablespoon of turmeric powder with two tablespoons of gram flour (besan) (1:2)

Yellow

Mix henna powder with flour

Green

SAFETY TIPS – PLS FOLLOW STRICTLY

  1. Don’t apply Coconut Oil to become colour cartoon for next few days.

  2.  Strictly Carry Your Mobile. (Holi gives you the best opportunity to upgrade to new Mobile phones).

  3.  Please Colour every Women on the road to get good beating this holi.( You will look ‘awsum’ with black blue eyes).

  4. If you want to stay clean get out of the house and behave normally.

So gear up for the fun, make your gadgets ready and stand up for  masti and maza on this joyous, happy and bindaas Holi.

#LiveTheTradition
Diwali Celebration

How Diwali is Celebrated in the Different Parts of India

October 18, 2016

Who doesn’t have at least one fond memory of the Festival of Lights? Even though some of us don’t religiously celebrate Diwali, the excitement that brews in the days leading up to the festival isn’t any less than those who do – mostly because we get to burst crackers and stuff our faces with delicious festival food! Like Christmas, Diwali is a celebration that ties people of different religions together in India. Those who follow Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism also observe various customs related to Diwali. Did you know that it’s also observed as an official holiday in 12 countries apart from India? Not much has changed over the decades, except that you can now buy crackers online apart from your local market vendor. So, armed with these facts, let’s explore how this most revered Festival of Lights is celebrated across our nation.

We begin our journey in the east, around West Bengal, northeast Bihar and Assam. Here, Kali Puja is the festival that overlaps Diwali, or Dipaboli, as the Bengalis call it. On the night of the festival, while the rest of India worships the goddess Lakshmi, the goddess Kali is worshipped here in a ritual popularly known as Kali Puja, to celebrate her defeat of the wicked Raktavija. In this region, families also honour their departed ancestors by lighting diyas in their memory. Another interesting fact is that Diwali holds significant importance for the trader community, so one will always find markets brightly lit, vividly decorated and brimming with goodies. It goes without saying that the fire department is also put on high alert and water tankers are placed at strategic locations throughout the city to avoid any mishaps due to bursting crackers! Further south, in the state of Odisha, people draw colourful rangolis outside their homes and light a diya to mark the commencement of the puja. After the sunset, a ritual is performed to light a path for the spirits of the ancestors take back to heaven.

As we make our way west, towards Uttar Pradesh, we find that Diwali is celebrated with the greatest fanfare and pomp, being one of the most important religious landmarks in the history of Hindu culture. Culminating from the age-old story of the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness, the Festival of Lights, as it is known in this region, captures the imagination of both young and old. It’s a time when people are “out with the old and in with the new”, which is why people splurge on new clothes, new household items, new cars, and even new houses. Nowadays, online shopping for crackers starts days, even weeks before Diwali. On the big night, there isn’t a single nook or cranny of any house without a diya so that the ground mirrors the sky with its million twinkling lights. People wear festive and colourful clothes, visit each other’s homes, exchange gifts and sweets, play tash (cards) and cover their homes with diyas or lamps, stemming from the belief that the goddess Lakshmi will not enter a dark house. Diwali melas, art and craft exhibitions pop up all over the city making it abuzz with life! There is a constant echo of fireworks as the night sky occasionally sparkles with crackers.

We now move further west, towards Gujarat and Maharashtra, where Diwali symbolises the day Vishnu sent the demon King Bali to rule the underworld. The festivities begin with a special preparation of sweetmeats and savoury snacks known as ‘Faral’. These mouth-watering snacks include Chiwada, Chakali, Karanji, Laddu and other traditional foods. In Maharashtra, a ritual involving the aarti of the cow and its calf is performed, which honours the love between a mother and her child. The following day is what traders and business owners believe to be auspicious for making important purchases and investments – more specifically, utensils and precious metals such as silver and gold. Subsequently, on Naraka Chaturdashi, people wake at the crack of dawn and bathe using various oils and perfumes to signify symbolic cleansing. On the night of Diwali, fireworks are lit with abandon and homes are brightly decorated with lamps. Businesspeople avoid making any payments on this day because they believe that ‘Lakshmi’ or ‘wealth’ shouldn’t leave the home on Diwali. To solidify this belief, cash, jewellery and an idol of the goddess Lakshmi is worshipped in every household.

Travelling further south to the state of Goa and along the Konkan coast, homes are thoroughly cleaned and then decorated with mango leaves, marigold flowers and lamps. Utensils in the home are scrubbed to sparkle and filled with water to aid in the ‘holy bath’ ritual the following morning. Paper effigies of the demon Nakarasura that are filled with crackers are burned in the wee hours of the morning – much like how Ravana’s effigies are burned during Dusshera to depict how good vanquished evil.

Finally, our journey brings us to South India, where Diwali is popularly associated with the legend of Narasimha, literally translated to mean ‘man-lion’, which is an incarnation of Vishnu. The tale extolls his victory over an evil demon king called Hiranyakshipu. Because Hiranyakshipu was killed before daybreak, homes are lit up with diyas on the night before Diwali. The morning of the festival is an early start, preceded by an oil massage and a ritual bath to completely cleanse oneself. People then receive new clothes and gifts from their elders that they are supposed to wear that day, after which, a puja is performed in the honour of the god Vishnu for prosperity. Following the puja, in the night, crackers are burst, people visit friends and family in their homes where gifts and sweets are exchanged – much like it is in the northern part of the country.

One question on everyone’s mind might be why we burst crackers on Diwali, since this seems to be the common thread that ties the country-wide celebrations together? It is the most exciting and probably the most awaited part of the festival; indeed, nowadays, people begin shopping for Diwali firecrackers online days before Diwali (you can buy yours at Ayyan Fireworks)! However, it is also believed that the sound of the fireworks is meant to loudly announce the homecoming of Rama. Yet another belief is that the crackers are supposed to indicate the people’s resounding joy on the earth. A far more practical view is that the cracker fumes kill insects that breed in large numbers during the rains!

After completing our journey of how Diwali is celebrated across India, we see how the same festival dons so many different forms as we move from region to region. However, the message of this vibrant and energetic celebration remains the same, no matter what the religious implications – that in the end, good will always defeat evil, and darkness will always give way to light. On that note dear friends, we wish you all a bright and happy Diwali, and a prosperous new year!

History of Diwali Celebration

100 Years of Diwali: How the Festival of Lights has Changed from 1916 to 2016

October 15, 2016

Considered to be the most significant celebration, Diwali, or the Festival of Lights sees millions of people with bright smiles and brighter displays of attire, firecrackers and lights celebrate this wonderful festival, year after year. Every autumn, this soulful festival is celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs for different reasons, keeping the central theme the same: The triumph of good over evil, and light over darkness.

What Diwali Means to the Three Different Religions

Coinciding with the Hindu New Year, Diwali is a five-day festival celebration of the homecoming of Lord Rama, his wife Sita, and his brother Lakshmana, to their kingdom after exile. Diwali is the celebration of the triumph of Lord Rama over Ravana, the demon king, sometime in the 15th century BC.

The Sikhs consider Diwali to be a celebration of the return of the sixth guru, Shri Hargobind Ji, to Amritsar, after setting 52 Hindu kings free from imprisonment. The celebration is synonymous with the victory of the guru over Emperor Jahangir in order to release the detainees.

In Jainism, the festival of lights marks the true worship or Nirvana Kalyanaka of Mahavir by Gautam Swami. He attained omniscience and was free of all karmic bondage. The Jains consider Diwali to be a time for a new year of life.

Blast into the Past

Diwali, as we remember it over the years, was filled with relatives and families from all over the country coming together, decorating the homes with colourful candles and diyas, preparing delicious, homemade sweets and enjoying the noisy but pretty display of crackers. Let’s not forget the excitement on everybody’s faces when it was time to exchange and unwrap the gifts, which is one of the most important parts of this joyful experience.

Is it a more bleak present?

Although the theme of celebration remains the same with the gifts, clothing and lights, it is quite evident that there is a conscious shift in the way the abundant festivity was once celebrated. As we travel back 100 years from 2016, Diwali was a louder, extravagant and a family affair, opposed to it slowly having changed to a quieter, simplified and individualised gathering. We see conservation through tradition and sobriety within revelry.

Back in the 1900s, the Festival of Lights was definitely a massive community affair. Although it still is in some ways, the magnitude of the festivities has lessened. Blame it on the advancement of science and technology, our busy lives or even the rise in expenses over the century for slowly reducing the charm of Diwali and making it slightly bleaker than it used to be.

From Diyas to Electric Light and Back to Diyas Again?

The tradition for millions isn’t just a way of life but is actually a one-crore question of livelihood. In short, our lives are lit up by tradition, and when this takes a hit numerous lives are impacted. From ancient times till the early 2000s, Diwali saw the pottery community come together three to four months in advance to hand make clay lamps and earthen decorative items. With the availability of other colourful materials and ease of access, the sale of earthen diyas has gone down drastically in the past two decades. Potters have had no choice but to abandon their respectable professions and livelihoods and seek others.

The development of technology and easy availability of commodities have changed the perception of people over time, who now long for commercial goods, comfort and the like in comparison to earthen items that symbolise warmth and love. Earlier, diyas were synonymous with Diwali, which are now replaced with bright, electric lights and decorative candles. But all hope is not lost, as some of the learned community try and fight back this commercialisation in the past couple of years by spreading awareness of the forgotten terracotta items we once used. Although the fancy, electronic ready-to-use lights are trying to push earthenware into oblivion, the green warriors of the country are desperately trying to bring back this practice to re-instil cultural notions and for the betterment of the environment. The diyas still continue to exist, with its dim light slowly strengthening as the years go by.

From Homemade Rich Sweets to Store-Bought Chocolates

For generations, Diwali meant a huge family gathering, with everyone lending a hand in the delicious tradition of preparing sweets. While the women prepared the tasty mixtures, children ran in to steal the ghee-rich delicacies and the men attempted to add extra dry fruits in the mixtures. However, we don’t see much of this happening in the past decade or so. Homemade delicacies dripping with that healthy dose of ghee and love have now been replaced with ready made sweet boxes sold at sweetmeat shops. The joy of sitting with the family, exchanging anecdotes about life, and learning age-old recipes, has now been reduced to a quick drive to the store and picking up of required number of boxes. In a way, our busy lives and schedules have made impersonal this very personal festival over the past two decades.

From Family Shopping to Online Shopping

Remember the joy of running through the colourfully decorated markets, smelling the fresh flowers, feeling the materials of cloth on your skin and tasting the delicious sweets? The increase in traffic, pollution and work-related stress has made people today stay home during the festival instead of driving from place to place. With everything available online, the concept of ‘family festival shopping’ has also taken a backseat. Looking at the last century, it has always been a tradition for families to get clothes stitched by tailors, and as time passed, going to clothing stores to buy traditional outfits for the family and as gifts. Today, the trend has changed to a click of a button, and handmade gifts are replaced with electronic gadgets. The tradition of visiting homes to exchange sweets has also slowly declined in the past decade.

Noisy Crackers to Greener Initiatives

Despite many changes in the past century with the various traditions becoming obsolete, the tradition of bursting fireworks still exists. Although they prove to be a pretty sight by colouring the skies at night, we have become more educated about the harmful effects of these sources of pollution. With everyone addicted to technology, a greener alternative for the noisy pollutants is online crackers. Traditionally, the entire neighbourhood would be seen out on the streets, burning crackers and competing as to whose set would be the loudest. Eventually, it became a matter of self-esteem to burst as many crackers as possible to showcase the level of prosperity in one’s home. This led to a lot of pollution and harmful effects to the environment. The learned masses have now shifted to buying Diwali crackers online. Buy crackers online such as Ayyan Fireworks and enjoy a safe festival with reduced levels of pollution. The crackers online shopping portals are convenient, and indulging in buying firecrackers online is definitely a welcome change in tradition.
Looking back at the celebration over the past century, it is clear that there are numerous changes that have taken place. From hand-drawn powder rangolis to readymade stencils, from extended family gatherings to nuclear family celebrations, from noisy crackers to crackers online, it is evident that tradition is being redefined and constantly evolving.

Diwali Celebration

The Significance of Sound and Light in Diwali Celebrations

October 12, 2016

Diwali or Deepavali translates to ‘a row of lights’. This festival of lights is celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs all over the world. While the new moon day (amaavasya) of the lunisolar month of Kartika in the Hindu calendar primarily involves Lakshmi/Kali puja, in southern India, the preceding (chaturdashi) and succeeding days mark the annihilation of Narakasura by Krishna and the annual visit of King Bali, respectively. In the north, chaturdashi is Choti Diwali, and the previous day (Dhanteras) commemorates the dialogue between Nachiketa and Yama. Govardhan puja, with a mountain of food (anna koot) and Bhai dooj (brother’s day) are celebrated after the new moon day. Typically, these five days involve wearing new clothes for get-togethers with family and friends in a thoroughly cleaned and painted house, gorging on sweets, lighting earthenware lamps (diyas), and of course, firecrackers.

Jains celebrate their 24th Tirthankara Mahavira’s attainment of Nirvana on Diwali. Sikhs observe the day as “Bandi Chhoor” – the release of Guru Gobind Singh and 52 Rajput princes held in captivity at Gwalior fort by the Mughal emperor Jahangir. Both the communities light diyas to celebrate the respective events.  

For those in western India who follow the Vikram samvat (calendar), the New Year commences after Deepavali amaavasya, and the lighting of diyas also commemorates the coronation of King Vikramaditya.

And so, it appears that lighting lamps symbolically signifies the dispelling of darkness (ignorance) within, freedom from bondage, and the auspicious start of something new.

The best-known legend associated with lighting diyas during Diwali is that the people of Ayodhya rejoiced the return of Rama to his kingdom after a 14-year exile by doing so. One of the nicest explanations for lighting diyas in the whole country is that from southern tip of India, the way was lit for Rama, his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana to direct them home as they flew over towns and villages in the flying chariot known as the Pushpaka Vimaana. After all, they had to reach north before the winter set in, and the diyas were like runway lights to guide them on their way! This is also given as an explanation as to why lamps are lit a few days earlier in southern India.  

Even today, Diwali is the last major festival before the onset of winter. The ‘amaavaasya’ in the October-November period is the darkest night in autumn. Therefore, setting out a light in front of the house, the Tulsi plant, the village well and crossroads, and in the cemetery in the dark half of the month makes sense.  Lamps are kept burning through the night as a ‘deepdaan’ for Yama on Dhanteras night. But Diwali is popularly associated with Lakshmi puja, isn’t it? Well, Lakshmi is not only associated with wealth (Dhan Lakshmi) and prosperity (Aishwarya Lakshmi) but also light (Deepa Lakshmi).

According to the Skanda purana, the diyas lit for Diwali symbolise the rays of the sun whose energy is reduced with the advent of winter. Also, during the winter months, the Pleiades is the brightest constellation in the sky. Now in India, the Pleiades correspond to the Saptamatrikas – the seven mothers who not only nursed the god Skanda aka Kartikeya but also assumed ferocious avatars to help vanquish the demons ChanDa, MunDa, Mahisha and Raktabeeja. Agni is the ruling deity of the constellation, and therefore, all festivities at this time are associated with light and fire. In Hinduism, any worship of the divine feminine – Lakshmi in the case of Deepavali – is necessarily associated with the Saptamatrikas. However, these seven (sometimes eight) entities are accompanied by ghosts, spirits and dakinis (disembodied female energies), all of which may have a negative impact. The loud sound of bursting crackers keeps these unwanted elements away.

Sound has always been a part of festivities the world over. What may have been a way of scaring away animals from settlements has gradually progressed to selective expression of joy or triumph. Drumbeats, gunshots, blowing of conches and bugles, tolling of bells – all celebrations are incomplete without these accompanying sounds.

In Europe, village fiestas in Malta and the Fallas carnival in Valencia (Spain) are best known for their loud firecrackers during celebrations. Petards (which we call ‘bijli bombs’) are used during the day and the wonderfully coloured fireworks light up the night sky.

In India, crackers are used at annual temple chariot festivals. Some communities burst crackers at weddings to welcome the groom’s party, while others announce the passing on of a departed soul at funerals.

During Diwali, bursting firecrackers that make a loud sound is associated with keeping evil and/or unwanted spirits at bay. At least one variety of crackers that is not accompanied with colourful light is used to symbolically ward off evil. One can also choose to welcome the goddess Lakshmi with the bursting of fireworks. In short, Diwali celebrations are incomplete without crackers.

Thankfully, these days, one can shop for firecrackers online. The biggest advantage of buying crackers online is that you can finish all that last-minute work to meet your boss’s deadline before taking off for the festival. Of course, you can also check prices and choose what you want instead of buying the stuff from a vendor who offers a ridiculously high discount for quality that may be suspect. Ayyan fireworks, an offshoot of Standard Fireworks in Sivakasi, is one of the companies that offers the sale of Diwali crackers online.

A word of caution here… Place lighted diyas so that they are seen but don’t allow for mishaps of people’s clothes and other objects catching fire. Stand back when lighting fireworks, especially ‘phooljhadis’ (flower pots). When bursting ‘bombs’, plug your ears to lessen the assault on your eardrums. Avoid the bombs that make loud sounds if there are small babies, pregnant women, extremely old or ill people in the neighbourhood. Have fun but choose your space carefully.

So, now, what’s stopping you from having a blast this Diwali?   

Fireworks Guidelines & Safety

Have a Safe Diwali… With Crackers

October 8, 2016

Diwali is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in India. Although different religions have different legends for celebrating the festival, it is celebrated by one and all with equal enthusiasm and enjoyment. The first thought that comes to mind when you think about Diwali is the bright display of shimmering, colourful electric lights, flickering earthen lamps or diyas, and a variety of crackers that put up a grand show on the ground and in the sky. Such is the love for crackers that the festival of lights has become synonymous with being the festival of firecrackers.

Everything about Diwali is associated with happiness, except the unfortunate incidents and accidents that negligent use of fireworks can cause. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up firecrackers altogether. You can have a safe Diwali with crackers and avoid roadblocks to your celebrations by taking a few precautions and keeping some safety tips in mind. Here’s a breakdown of the elements that contribute to ensuring a safe Diwali.

  1. Where You Buy Firecrackers From

Diwali is around the corner, and shops and supermarkets are brimming with diyas, chocolate boxes and the usual Diwali paraphernalia. Boxes of a variety of fireworks sit neatly arranged in the many cracker shops that set up overnight in markets in every city. While making your way in a crowded cracker shop used to be the norm, you can now buy crackers online. A wide array of crackers online give tough competition to traditional stores. The collection available online and the convenience of buying everything you want from the comforts of home make online crackers a better bet.

When it comes to buying crackers, online shopping is also safer as compared to getting it from a shop. The crowds and the large amounts of fireworks stacked at one place can be a recipe for disaster. Whether you choose to order Diwali crackers online or get them from a shop near your home, you should buy them only from a licensed and reliable seller, such as Ayyan Fireworks. Licensed sellers scrutinise the safety standards of their stores and the fireworks they sell, and also ensure that the quality of the fireworks is up to the mark.

  1. How You Handle Fireworks

Handling different types of fireworks requires different precautions, which are usually mentioned on cracker packets or boxes, irrespective of whether you buy firecrackers online or from a shop. Always read the label or safety instructions on the box, and follow them carefully. Don’t keep crackers in your pockets; they should always be kept in a closed box when not in use. Children should always have adult supervision while lighting fireworks.

Don’t be in a hurry to light different crackers; light them one at a time. Whether you’re lighting a sparkler, Chinese cracker, fountain, or wheel (chakkar), use an incense stick (agarbatti) to light it, taking the agarbatti to the cracker and not the other way. Avoid using open flames such as lighters and matches as they are dangerous. Also, remember not to keep your fireworks near a source of fire.

While lighting a cracker, you should stand at least at an arm’s distance from it. Keep you body positioned away from the cracker so as to light it and move away as fast as you can. If a cracker doesn’t ignite immediately or takes time, it can be tempting to inspect it. However, it’s best to leave it and sprinkle water on it to diffuse it. At any cost, don’t light a cracker while holding it in your hand. Wash your hands after handling fireworks as they contain toxic materials.

  1. Where You Burst Crackers

You should always light fireworks in an open area, such as a field or a playground. All types of fireworks can cause fire hazards if they are used in closed, crowded or congested areas, such as your home, your building’s corridor, or the parking area. Also, fireworks release toxic fumes when they are lit and can cause health problems if used in places with inadequate ventilation. In the case of rockets and other aerial firecrackers, ensure that they have a solid grounding and don’t face doors, windows or building gates. While it is important that you burst crackers in open places, remember not to light them on roads.

  1. What Clothes You Wear While Handling Crackers

Who doesn’t love dressing up in their best attire on Diwali? However, when it comes to choosing the right clothes to wear when handling fireworks, thick cotton fabric with a good fit is the best choice. Avoid loose clothing or clothes made of nylon, polyester or any synthetic material as they have higher chances of catching fire easily.

  1. How Prepared You Are

Being prepared for the worst is better than not being prepared at all. Keep a first-aid kit, including eye drops, within quick reach. You should be prepared and ready to act in case of an emergency situation. Always have a water bucket or a sand bucket nearby when you light firecrackers. Discard used fireworks, especially sparklers, in either of these so that no one accidentally steps on them while they are still hot.

While you share sweets and all the love and happiness that Diwali is synonymous with, you should also spread the word for celebrating it safely. Handling crackers properly, lighting fireworks in open areas, wearing the right clothes, and being completely prepared will ensure that you enjoy a cracker of a Diwali every year. Here’s wishing you a safe Diwali.

Our Festival

A Brief History of the Festival of Lights

October 5, 2016

Diwali, Deepavali, or Dipawali, no matter how it’s spelt, remains one of the biggest and the most important festivals in India. Also known as the Festival of Lights, the mere thought of Diwali evokes a sense of happiness and conjures up the images of flickering diyas, colourful firecrackers that light up the night sky, and the exchanging of gifts and sweets with friends and family. The vivaciousness that Diwali brings with it is contagious, what with the opportunity to dress up in traditional attire and indulge in delicious goodies.

Based on the Hindu lunar calendar, Diwali is celebrated in India, and by Indians worldwide, in either October or November. It is also celebrated in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Nepal, Fiji and Mauritius. Diwali is an epitome of fun and enjoyment. However, it is not just about diyas, gifts and crackers. There is a deeper significance behind the festival of lights, its origin and the grand celebration, the roots of which can be traced down to Hindu mythology. The history of Diwali also has a close relation to the Jain and Sikh communities. The common interpretation that binds the different legends together is the victory of good over evil.

The Origin of Diwali: Legends and Stories

Do you know why Diwali is called the festival of lights, or why it is celebrated over a period of five days? Well, it’s quite a story. To understand the real meaning of Diwali, let’s travel back a few years to ancient India. According to the Hindu scriptures and the most famous legend of Ramayana, it all goes back to the epic battle fought between Lord Rama, the prince of Ayodhya, and Ravana, the king of Lanka.

When Lord Rama was in exile with his wife Sita and younger brother Laxman, the learned but evil Ravana abducted Sita. To free Sita from Lanka, Rama attacked Ravana and killed him in the war that raged between the two sides. To commemorate the return of the victorious Rama and to welcome their future king and queen after their 14 years in exile, the people of Ayodhya lit lamps and firecrackers and made merry. That marked the first ever Diwali celebration, which is still celebrated by Hindus as a form of worship.

The Jain community considers Diwali an extremely sacred festival. It is believed that Lord Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, attained spiritual awakening or Nirvana on October 15, 527 B.C., which is the reason why Jains celebrate Diwali. In Sikhism, Diwali signifies the day Guru Hargobind, the sixth Sikh guru, escaped Mughal captivity. As a mark of respect and his love for Sikhism, people welcomed him by lighting up the way to the Golden Temple.

Significance of the Five Days of Diwali

The roots of the history of Diwali and the five-day celebration are embedded in fascinating legends and stories from the Hindu Mythology. The first day of Diwali is called Dhantryaodashi or, more popularly, Dhanteras. It is believed that this is an auspicious day for financial investments and shopping for kitchen utensils or gold. The second day of Diwali is called Narak Chaturdashi. It was on this day that Lord Krishna killed a demon called Narakasura to stop his atrocities against the dwellers of the earth and in heaven.

The third day, or the main day of Diwali, marks the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya and is celebrated beginning with the worship of the Goddess Lakshmi, followed by lighting earthen lamps or candles and strings of colourful electric lights. People keep their doors and windows open for Lakshmi. To be prepared for the festivities, people buy crackers online nowadays.

The fourth day of Diwali has its own mythological relevance and is the day for performing Govardhan Pooja. It honours the day the young Lord Krishna lifted the top of a mountain to save the villagers of Gokul from torrential rains and thunder. The fifth and the last day of Diwali is called Bhai Dooj and is dedicated to the sincere relationship between brothers and sisters. It is believed that Lord Yama visited Yamuna, his sister, on this day. His happiness after meeting and spending time with her made him declare that any brother who visits his sister on Bhai Dooj will be showered with health and wealth.

Of Lights and Firecrackers

Irrespective of the legends surrounding the history of Diwali, it is celebrated by one and all with equal fervour even today. When we have lights illuminating homes for Diwali, it is only fair that firecrackers illuminate the sky. Gone are the days when you had to queue up or find a way amidst the throngs of excited shoppers to lay your hands on those inviting firecrackers. You can now shop for crackers online. Ayyan Fireworks offers a multitude of Diwali crackers online. From sparklers, spinning wheels and fountains to Chinese crackers, rockets and other fancy novelties, when it comes to buying crackers, online shopping is the new way to go.

Whatever your reason to celebrate the festival of lights may be, you can make it special for your family, friends and for yourself. Whether you buy online crackers or go traditional with your shopping, and whether you light diyas or electric lights, to one and all, here’s wishing you a Happy Diwali.

References:

http://www.diwalifestival.org/diwali-in-history.html

http://festivals.iloveindia.com/diwali/story-of-diwali.html

http://festivals.awesomeji.com/diwali/history-of-diwali.html

http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/diwali/#diwali_candles.jpg

Firework Collections

Various types of Coloured Sparklers

October 3, 2016
Sparklers

With so many great uses of sparklers, these days the demand for sparklers is also increasing. In the market today, there is a great demand for coloured sparklers. If you want to increase the colour in your celebration, sparklers are a nice way to do it. They are affordable, colourful and specialised. However, with so many options available, it becomes very difficult finding the perfect ones that suits your needs. Some of the popular types of coloured sparklers available today are:

Regular colour sparklers: The regular ones are the oldest type of sparklers. They are available in variety of colours. They are around eight to ten inches and burn with tints of either red, green, or blue colours rather than the traditional gold. They are the most affordable option, but also the least impressive of all colour sparklers.

Colour bottle sparklers: These sparklers have been in the bar and nightclub industry for quite some time now. They are also gaining a foothold in wedding receptions. It is a new concept in sparklers. Instead of shooting golden sparks, colour bottle sparklers create a variety of colourful flames.

Neon sparklers: They are the brightest and the most vivid sparklers of all. They burn intensely in the night and create some spectacular visuals. However, they are the most expensive sparklers and can be a little smoky at times.

Colour cake sparklers: Birthday cake coloured sparklers have been popular for quite some time now. Certain sparkler manufacturers also customise the coloured sparklers as per the preference of the person.

The use of these sparklers depends on personal taste. However, bottle sparklers are ideal for a bar or nightclub. The unique combination of size, colour options, effect style, and low smoke production coupled with the safety features makes sparklers the best way to add colour to your celebration.